Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Define Community

What is a community?  I was taught in my studies of Human Communication Theory, that a community required a "diverse range of varied demographic factors and ideological viewpoints."  This group also though had to be "committed to something of value that creates corporate equity."  So there's something that everyone is invested in, and that commitment seems to be bigger than the sum of the differences.  Yet the differences are as essential as the common commitment.  Without these differences there is not community, just a pseudo-community (like college) where the commonality creates connections that are only as deep as the agreement.  In a community, the common commitment is stronger than that which can break it because of the diversity involved.  A community realizes they don't need to agree on every (or even really any) point, but are committed to journeying together through whatever comes their way.  This includes all the inner conflict that will come because of the diversity of demographics and ideologies. 

All of this is to say that in a time of searching, struggling, and disagreeing on issues large and small, we must remember that movement towards places of "like-mindedness" will lead to nothing more than a cheap substitute for true community.  Rather, it is essential that realize that willingness and faithfulness are not thing we are trying to reach and do, but a part of the journey that we are on, individually as part of the whole. This means that part of faithfulness is being in constant discussion and discernment with those who are in our community and inviting others to be part of that community. This is not easy, especially if we feel we have "the answer" and others are in contradiction with that answer. Seems so simple, but so often is difficult, painful, and confusing . . . at least for me.